Binas: I know I said that I was working on two fanfics. Well, those two became three, and this is the third one. This one had become a big itch to tell.
Winter of 1296...
The flames in the distance engulfed and devoured the mansion that had belonged to Takemaru of Setsuna, her jealous and lustful captor. Izayoi could not help but feel pity for the samurai who burnt down his own lavish dwellings just to rid the world of her, her son, and the love of her life. She yearned for her husband's safety and prayed that he would make it. His injuries were of a great magnitude from what she had seen. His desire to protect the beginnings of his new family were what made it possible for him to even stand, let alone fight.
Her baby, Inuyasha, wailed at the top of his lungs. She drew him in closer to comfort him. The poor silver-haired babe had been put into a state of distress by the events that had occurred during his birth. Izayoi was ever so thankful that the times as an infant were to be forgotten by all but those who were of age to remember. She would never want Inuyasha to remember this tragic night. It was too painful. There was so much chaos, destruction, and blood from both sides.
Izayoi felt tears slip from her eyes as the sound of the walls and roofing of the large, regal home collapsing into the ground reached her ears. Her fears of her beloved being killed by the wreckage and flames became more and more overpowering. She bowed her head as her knees became weak. She fell onto the ground, still holding Inuyasha to her chest. Her tears became full-blown sobs as her newborn took the opportunity to feed on some milk from her bosom, not knowing any better as he was only just born moments ago. Regardless of bad timing, Izayoi did not disturb her son's feeding. He could not help it.
From behind, a firm, but gentle, hand grasped her shoulder. Izayoi turned her head and gasped. Her husband, Toga, had survived and made it out of the flames, defying her shattered hope. He was heavily battered and bruised and decorated with bleeding wounds and, surprisingly minor, burns. He gave a weak smile that barely flashed his pearly white fangs. Fangs that he would use to tenderly and gently nibble on her earlobes out of affection. Before she could even hug him, Toga fell over, unconsciousness overtaking him but, thankfully, leaving him just barely alive. As he fell, two of his three swords came off his being. The swords that came off were Sounga and Tensaiga. Given the situation, no one paid mind to the swords that fell to the ground. Izayoi shouted Toga's name just as the bright, full moon reached its zenith in the smoke-filled, winter night sky.
Izayoi looked all around her for anything or anyone who could help her husband. What her eyes landed on was a lone horse and a cart. Seeing as the horse's rider was no longer alive, Izayoi quickly used the Robe of Fire Rat as a carry wrap to place Inuyasha in on her back. Next, she grabbed hold of Toga's right arm and began pulling with all of her strength. Centimeter by centimeter, Toga's body slowly moved behind her as she dragged him to the cart. With great difficulty, Izayoi managed to load her husband onto the cart. Once her husband was securely loaded onto the cart, Izayoi climbed up onto the horse and fixed Inuyasha so that he was in front of her instead of on her back. With that, Izayoi began to ride the horse towards the nearest village she knew of, hoping that her father would take them in and shelter them from the freezing winter winds.
The sun began to rise over a lush and flourishing aristocratic castle town, Kokama. It was close to the largest town in the land, Kamakura, which was located in the Sagami province. Proudly, the castle that sat in the middle of the town as the last few remnants of the autumn season flew by in the wind. A leaf or two bumped against the walls of the castle.
The sliding door opened to reveal the middle-aged lord of the town, Suguru. His long, straight and well-behaved, black hair flowed down to the bottom of his shoulder blades. The irises of his eyes were a dark violet in color and twinkled in a way to convey a sense of calmness. He was adorned in a highly ornate blue haori with intricate pale-red designs. His dark blue hakama were loosely flowing thanks to the lack of any string at the very bottom, making the leg parts flare out in the wind like fine cloth on a clothesline.
He looked towards the rising sun, taking in the calming view. The fluffy pink clouds cradled the ball of life-giving light as the sky bled from a blue-violet into bright oranges, pinks, and light feminine-blues.
Towards the front gate of the castle town's walls, the feudal lord saw a gathering of villagers from upon the hill top his castle stood upon. He squinted his eyes, trying to see what was happening in the distance. He then turned to a soldier that was holding a spear with a look of authority.
"Escort me to the front gate at once," Suguru commanded.
"Yes, my lord," the soldier bowed.
Suguru and the soldier walked towards the front gate. Upon their arrival, the middle aged lord cleared his throat, gaining the attention of his people. They backed away, creating a path to the source of interest. The feudal lord's eyes settled upon the woman that stood in the middle. She was wearing nothing but a simple, white kimono and had a red haori tied around her shoulder with a tiny mass nestled and buried in the garment. Behind the woman was a cart, which the villagers glared into with great displeasure and disgust. The woman herself had long black hair and her head bowed towards the ground as she held the mass in the haori close to her bosom.
The wind swept past the woman and the feudal lord, carrying orange, red, and brown leaves with it.
"Daughter?" Suguru asked as he pinched himself in the wrist.
"Yes, it is I, Izayoi, father," the woman said.
The feudal lord slowly approached his daughter in a daze. Once he was half-an-arm's length away, he cupped Izayoi's cheek with his wrinkling hands. A few seconds later, he scooped her up into a large embrace.
"Izayoi," Suguru began softly. "Last we saw you it was during the first month of spring. You vanished one night. Please tell me, where were you? What happened to my little girl?"
"Father, I do not regret what has happened," Izayoi said. "Before that night, I met a wonderful man, a wandering general to be exact, during the demon attack upon the village that took place two years ago. He saved my life and I wished to ask him about how I should repay him."
Suguru pursed his lips as held a focused look upon his eyebrows. He nodded and asked, "What did he ask of you?"
"Nothing," Izayoi replied. "However, we did not cease seeing each other. We eventually arranged to meet each other at the earliest part of the hour of the horse when no one was awake nor on watch. Before long, we fell in love and married in secret. We were without thinking one night, and at the time I could not bear to show my face to you."
Suguru knew what his daughter meant. He said, "Then, I presume that what you carry in your arms is the child you bore, am I correct?"
Izayoi nodded with a sad smile. Suguru smiled a bit, happy for his daughter. While it was not the arranged marriage that he had hoped to one day give his daughter, he was relieved to know that his daughter's mystery suitor was of high ranking blood. A general was a nice fit for his daughter.
"That's no babe she holds! It's a demon!" a rather vicious mother cried out as she held her own son back protectively, gaining Suguru's attention. "Look in the haori she holds, my lord! You will find proof of that!"
"It belongs to the demon in the cart, I tell you!" a nondescript villager angrily crowed from the back end of the cart. "Their hair is identical!"
Suguru frowned and slowly moved his hand towards the Robe of the Fire Rat. Izayoi made no effort to move away or prevent her father from looking at what was inside the fabric. The middle-aged feudal lord pulled the haori open and what he had feared, thanks to the villagers' outbursts, was true. There was indeed a tiny, sleeping demon being cradled in Izayoi's arms. It was barely two days old and it already had more hair on its head than a typical, human newborn had. Its mouth was slightly open, showing nothing but gums. The tips of the tiny fingers had soft, flimsy claw-esque fingernails that had yet to fully harden into what would presumably be its most dangerous weapon. The most striking and tell-tale signs that the child was indeed a demon were the bright, silver hair and furry dog ears that adorned the top of its head rather than human ears.
Suguru's eyes widened as the demon yawned, signalling that it was peacefully sleeping despite the ruckus. This time Suguru's eyes were not widening with awe. It was with horror that his eyes grew in size from. Suguru, after his eyes narrowed, faced his daughter and said, "Izayoi, to my castle right now." Suguru then turned to the soldier that was behind him, "I want you to keep an eye on that demon in the cart. Alert me of any sudden changes with it."
"Yes, my lord," the soldier complied and looked towards the villagers and said, "Scatter. There's nothing more of interest here."
With that, the nosey villagers went back to their daily routines. As Izayoi and her father walked towards the castle, villagers every now and then would leer at the princess and her precious Inuyasha. The more bold villagers spat on the path in front of Izayoi with contempt. Izayoi paid little attention to them, her focus was on her child. The peaceful look on his face told her that he was dreaming without a care in the world. It was a relieving thought that lifted a bit of the weight that was saddled upon her.
Once Izayoi, with her newborn son, and Suguru were inside the castle, Suguru gave a stern look towards his daughter. His fists were clenched and his jaw muscles locked with frustration.
"What is the meaning of this?!" Suguru shouted as his whole body vibrated. "You have me worried to death about your wellbeing while you whored yourself to a demon! A dog demon, the most dangerous kind, no less! You also courted it when no one was looking! How could you?! My own daughter!"
"If it were not for him, I would not be alive today," Izayoi said firmly as she briefly closed her eyes. "We did not plan for any of this to happen, but as I have said, I do not regret any of the decisions that I have made since then."
"Why did you come back?" Suguru asked, clearly pained by the words that Izayoi had said, "You surely know what the risks of coming back would be."
"Takemaru of Setsuna and his men had raided the abandoned castle that Toga, my beloved husband, and I were going to use to raise our son, Inuyasha, in," Izayoi said. "Takemaru took me as his trophy, mistaking me for a damsel in distress and unaware that I was a happy, expecting mother. It was until I was getting closer to being due when he realized I was pregnant and the week I was due when he figured out who the father was. What I am saying is, we need a place to stay so that we can raise our child in peace. Please father, I beg that you help us!"
Suguru's face found itself within the palms of his hands. Soft, barely audible sobs were choked out by the feudal lord. His heart was at war as the love for his daughter fought with everything he knew about demons. He collapsed to his knees and wrapped himself in his arms.
"Why do you torture me like this, Izayoi?" Suguru asked, facing the ground and shaking his head to side to side. "Where have I gone wrong?"
Izayoi kneeled before her father and grasped his right hand with her own. She said, "You have done nothing wrong, father. No one has."
Several minutes went by without any words. Izayoi stayed by her father's side to comfort him. Suguru did not have the heart to push away his own daughter despite what she had done behind his back. He still loved Izayoi dearly, he always would. However, this turn of events had done nothing but tear him apart and torment his heart and soul so far.
"I do not know what to do," Suguru stated. "I do not wish to cast you out after fearing for nine months that you have died. I would never be able to live with myself if you were to truly die."
"Then let us stay here, please," Izayoi pleaded.
"There would be madness if I were to," Suguru countered sadly. "The actions from the villagers that you saw today was only a minor reaction. They would likely kill you as well if you were to stay here with those abominations. I do not care for the demons that you claim to be family, but you, I do care for deeply."
Izayoi looked down at Inuyasha with an even sadder look than the one she had before. She brought him close and embraced him in a protective hug. Tears escaped Izayoi's eyes as she bit her lip. Her heart broke at hearing her father denounce her husband, her child, and herself to a degree while claiming to care about her. She tore her hand away from her father and got up.
As Izayoi walked away, Suguru got to his feet and cried out, "Wait! Do not leave!"
Izayoi turned around, her tear-stained eyes bore deep into her father's eyes. She asked, "Why not? I am clearly not welcomed here, by my own father no less."
"That is not what I meant, Izayoi!" Suguru replied. "I fear for you! You are playing a dangerous game and I do not wish to see you get hurt! I only want what is best for you!"
"What is best for me has already been given to me," Izayoi said pointedly. "If you truly cared, you would understand that I am already happy."
"You are still naive, my dear daughter. You have no idea how you will be treated this day forth by all who know that you bore a demon's child," Suguru said, hanging his head with grief. "I would never wish the horrors that will come upon you to happen. You maybe happy, but I will not be until I know you are safe."
"As long as Toga is alive, I am safe," Izayoi pointed out. "He protected me several times before. He will do so again and again until the end of time."
A long moment went by with Suguru and Izayoi looking at each other, their unwavering wills clashing in silence. The air was tense with emotion and charged with opposing opinions. A tear slipped from Suguru's left eye as both his eyes slowly and lightly closed shut. The edges of his lips were pointed downwards. The downwards tilt of his head made the sorrowed look that was etched into his face become slightly exaggerated.
"Alright, the demons can stay if it is what it takes to have you back, my precious daughter," Suguru said sadly. "But you and the demons will have to stay in the western wing of the castle. However, please spare me from anymore heartache and worry. I do not think I can take another scare of the same magnitude as this one."
Izayoi, while not entirely thrilled by her father refusing to accept her choices, was glad to know her tiny son would be raised with some stability. Inuyasha would have a mother and a father who would love him during every moment of his days, even when the three of them were separated in any sense of the word. Best of all, Inuyasha would get to have friends to play with. It all made her just a bit more happy with the arrangement given to her.
"I will have your husband brought to the western wing momentarily. After he awakes, I would like to personally speak to him and arrange the terms in which he will stay here under," Suguru continued as he wiped a tear from his left eye. "I pray that you know what you have gotten yourself into and what the consequences will be. I may not deliver them, but others will on their own behalf. For your sake and my own, be vigilant and strong."
With that, Suguru left the room, heading towards the eastern wing as all but silence and the sound of bare feet moving across the wooden floors played in the background. Izayoi frowned a bit at her father's final words. She had no clue as to what her father had meant by consequences entirely, especially the part about them not being dealt by him. Little did she know, it was a mystery that would hurt more than anything that her father had done so far.